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tv   Washington Journal  CSPAN  August 31, 2009 7:00am-10:00am EDT

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authority, talks about recovery efforts in louisiana four years after hurricane katrina. "washington journal" is next. . host: we will seek your thoughts on the vice-president, the former vice president's comments. you can reach us at twitter, and we will also take your e-mails.
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if you have called any c-span program in the last 30 days, give others a chance to call in this morning. here's a look of the front page of "the washington times." that is a photograph of the fires north of los angeles and the national forest. the story there is about the cia intelligence and translators. let's go inside where they are reporting about the story on vice-president cheney and his comments yesterday. dick cheney calls the cia torture probe outrageous. >> i think it is a terrible decision. president obama made the announcement some weeks ago that this would not have been. that his administration would not go back and look or try to prosecute cia personnel.
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the effort now is based upon the inspector general's report that was sent to the justice department five years ago. it was completely reviewed in years past. the made decisions about whether or not there was any prosecutable offense there and found one which involved a contract person. the individual it was sentenced and has been doing tab. the matter has been dealt with. now we have a political appointee coming back and a supposedly without the approval of the president, going to do a complete review or another complete investigation and possible prosecution. we could talk the whole program about the negative consequences. it's a terrible precedent to have personnel involved in a difficult program approved by the justice department, the
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national security council, the bush administration, and then with the arrival of the new administration it becomes political. they may be dried up by the grand jury and have to hire legal counsel on their own -- they might be dragged up by the grand jury. host: here they write that attorney-general eric holder appointed john durham as special counselor to reconsider pursuing criminal charges against cia employees who interrogated some of al qaeda's hardest core members. i want to get your thoughts on the comments by the former vice president and the issue at hand. good morning on the republican line to rose, in louisiana. caller: i think this
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investigation proves that the democrats are more for the enemy band for the protection of the u.s. -- for the enemy more than for the protection of the u.s. i cannot imagine anyone wanting to work for the cia anymore and i think it will be eventually dismantled. i think the bottom line is to go after george bush. all you ever get on msnbc is there one teen george bush, his skin. host: do you think the vice- president if asked to testify or give comment should appear before that group? caller: well, i guess so. i don't know how much they can force him to tell, but helen the
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world are we ever going to get information in order to protect our country if all these people are going to be in takinterroga? host: next call, stockton, calif. on the line for democrats. caller: this is about the silliest thing i have ever heard. it is in dick cheney's best interest. it is in his interest for this country to be afraid. that is his absolute goal. host: why is that in his best interest? caller: because if you are for you do not investigate, you do not look. the woman earlier talked about wanting our enemies to win. the only true enemies are enemies of the constitution in our written law. we know that the laws were broken and that we tortured. we know that the men he says
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give up the information given the information before they were tortured. in the past the cia and not those. who do the those we know this. anyone who works for the fbi will tell you this. i don't understand why we keep going back to this man and asking him questions. i love c-span, i really appreciated and always be my cable bill. i make sure that i can call every 30 days, if possible. you have had ronald kessler on twice in the last few months, who has recently written a book on intelligence. host: he wrote a book on the secret service. caller: both times he said things that are plainly and clearly false and no one ever challenges him. the first time it was to me when
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i called when he was on. i mentioned that people have been prosecuted for waterborne in. he brushed me off and then parcel he was saying, by saying what he meant was that no one from the cia has ever been prosecuted a waterborne. host: so, you were able to get through but -- the caller: he lied. the second time that he was on recently, sir, a woman called and we were tugging about the secret service protection of barack obama and she asked what about the man who only told a joke just in the the town where the people who showed up and were arrested were taken out oof president bush town meetings because of t-shirts they were wearing? and he laughed and giggled. he said well, those things never happened. host: ok, thanks for the comments. to orlando, fla., on the independent line. ♪ callercaller: thank you.
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i cannot believe that dick cheney has not already been indicted. as the previous caller said, we know all kinds of crimes have been committed. we have to restore our moral compass to society. right now the group dynamic is that we all want to live and die now. this has to end. -- we want to live in denial. this goes back to 9/11 where there are many unanswered questions. i think that dick cheney has a lot to answer for. host: here is a story about the former vice president's commons. -- comments. it says that the 2004 report
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concluded that some cia interrogators libya and bush and mr. shen rules permitting the use of techniques such as water boarding or simulated drowning. here is a san francisco, sheila, on the line for democrats. caller: yes, dick cheney now was to come out and speak publicly about this when we did not hear a whole lot from him while he was serving. i think he is doing it just a because there is a lot of information he does not want to have come out of things that him and bush were doing. host: thank you. indianapolis, good morning to brian on the line for independents.
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caller: yes, i commend the independence-minded attorney- general when barack obama has said he does not want these things to go forward. this man is in pursuit of justice. we need to show credibility around the world. those who commit war crimes will be prosecuted. it is obvious that dick cheney has a lot of information he does not want to get out publicly. for him to come on tv talking about the barack obama administration should be asking him how they kept the country say for eight years and would not -- these arguments and not working anymore. as long as he will be delayed down his nose at the judicial system, if the investigations -- dick cheney, he should be held accountable. the republicans held the bill clinton accountable for whitewater.
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republicans embarrassed our country by putting bill clinton's sex life out there and then tried to remove him from office. this needs to be investigated right here and if prosecutions are warranted and let the chips fall where they may. dick cheney is not above the law and maybe he could be held at a secret, undisclosed location in the prison. host: the front page of "the wall street journal" -- rise of the new era in japan. the report this morning rights that japanese voters overwhelmingly rejected the party that has largely ruled their nation for the most part in the past half century, choosing instead an untested rival to grapple with a weakened economy and an aging society. a could usher in a new era for japanese politics that replaces
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the old consensus. we have about 18 more minutes, still on this topic of the former vice president dick cheney and his comments yesterday on fox news concerning cia investigations to be held by the justice department. good morning, joe, from caller: york i was about four or five blocks from ground zero. -- joe, from new york. caller: if you are not here, they have a right to protect us in any way possible. these people from california have no clue of the destruction and lives destroyed over here, not even a clue. he was right to protect the country anyway.
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they did not actually torture. it was a threat of torture. all these other people should mind their business because they did not see any thing. caller: i disagree with the last caller. dick cheney did not protect anybody. neither did george bush. the man is clearly a criminal. he clearly needs to be indicted. he has been a coward all his life, made all his money off of weapons system from this government. he is a no-good vice president and i am sick of him coming down on barack obama. host: the comments from dick cheney made news on other sunday talk shows also. dianne feinstein had something to say. here it is. >> i have read the 2004 inspector general report which is stunning. i read it in its own redacted
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version. it is true, i was horrified. -- and its un redacted version. i understand the attorney general's reaction, however, i think the timing is not forgiving of intelligence committee has under way right now a total look at the interrogations and the tension techniques used for all of the high-value detainee's. we're well along in that study. i am trying to push it along even more quickly at this time. we will not be deterred from completing this study. candidly, i wish that the attorney general had waited. every day something kind of comes out into the public arena. very often it has mistakes or is only half the store. i think we need to get the whole story together to tell it in an improper way. -- it is very often only half
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the story. host: hercules, calif., next. caller: good morning, i just rolled the up out of bed and it is very early out here, about 4:00 a.m. i happened to have the tv on and saw you guys talk about this and dick cheney making these comments again. i cannot believe they are allowed to spin this over and over again. it is so clear that they violated so many laws, the real the our constitution and hijacked the country, get rich off of it, got richer. how could anybody believe anything they say? they need all to go to jail. if you go from the top down, not from the bottom up. host: viewers are weighing in on twitter.
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this is the story from the paper this morning. a lack of translators is still hampering intelligence. the congress warned about weakness in the war and terror. he writes that the u.s. national security agencies remain woefully short of foreign- language speakers and translators nearly eight years after the 9/11 attacks. the enemy often communicates in relatively obscure dialects. the necessary cadre of u.s. intelligence personnel capable of reading and speaking targeted regional languages remains essentially nonexistent. he further writes that the gap has become critical in the war
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effort, especially in afghanistan and pakistan, the theater where al qaeda and taliban the operatives text message, it be-mail, and talked in languages that the intelligence community has largely ignored before 2001. reno, texas, good morning on the republican line republicangreenville. caller: yes, it seems like a lot of people know that we get into a lot of trouble. we know dick cheney has been illegal activities. we know that michael jackson molested children. people have no evidence, no way to get evidence on september 11. host: next is houston, texas on
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the line for democrats. caller: please, i am a dem. yes, in a military mother and -- i want everyone to look of the 9/11 commission report. leon panetta the said that dick cheney had a young soldier in his office in the counting down the street to the pentagon. it is on footage. secondly, dick cheney made a lot of money with no bid contracts. no one will tell me how much. host: kathleen, you said that dick cheney made a lot of money on the war and terror? caller: 0, yes, 0 h please. do know that bush's family made some much money in 2007 alone? not only that, but blackwater, do you have a christian military mafia? these people -- of one of the
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military families to just go awol. host: about 10 more minutes of your comments on the former vice-president dick cheney. it will look at healthcare perspectives after that at the va hospital. we will also look at additional doctors and issues this evening. here is a look ahead. >> tonight, three doctors from virginia hospital center in arlington, va. tell personal stories about treating patients and offer their views on health care legislation currently before congress. you'll hear from dr. stephanie -- >> the charges anywhere from $1,800 up to $2,000. the payment is usually at a medicare reimbursement for mastectomy usually between $650 and $700.
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also, this doctor talks about issues concerning patient care. >> patients have a tendency when they have a symptom to go to the internet and try to figure out what is wrong with them. without the medical background and grounding in experience that we have they always get wrong. usually they think they have some horrible disease. if i would say anything is that patients should not try to make their diagnoses on the internet. >> join us tonight and what all three doctors share their personal stories about treating patients and their views on health care legislation. that begins at 8:00 p.m. eastern. host: a health issue on the front page of this paper from richmond. the u.s. presses for a surge of swine flu this fall. it reads that officials hope the worst holds off until a vaccine is available in october. also from the newseum this
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money, a picture of the grave site over arlington national cemetery. to boulder, colorado on the vice president's comments yesterday. caller: hi, could my. i have been watching for 15 years and never called before, but i am so outraged by dick cheney. i'm a widow of a vietnam veteran. i'm just modified that we are sending troops all over the world, that we are fighting for freedom in the rule of law -- i m modified. here is being taken down in our country brick by brick. i will be satisfied until a full investigation is done and everyone guilty of murdering people -- we're not talking
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about the fact that over 100 people have been killed during these interrogations'. i'm sure that is the kind of thing that eric holder has looked at. i say god bless him and move afford it. host: now to atlanta, a republican caller. caller: they need to leave their cheney alumna there were showing the headings when it was going on at that time and it is okay -- they need to leave it dick cheney alone. with water boring it is not like people were watching it on tv and eating popcorn. -- with water boarding. host: this story from "the
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washington times" -- blackwater recruits used in secret cia program. the cia turned to a well- connected security company then known as blackwater usa. company officials offer the services of foreigners supposedly skill the at tracking terrorists in lawless regions for the cia had no working relationships with the government. blackwater has told the cia that it could put people on the ground to provide the surveillance and support, all things you need to conduct an operation. we are reacting to comments in getting your thoughts on the proposed justice department investigation on the interrogations of terrorist detainee's. the vice president's comments
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got reaction yesterday on sunday shows. john mccain was on "face the nation." >> i believe that the president was right when he said we ought to go ford, not back. i worry about the morale and effectiveness of the cia i worry about this getting out of control and harming our ability to carry on the struggle we are in with radical islamic extremists. look, i was radically opposed to it, think it harmed us. i think that torturing harm us. a number of anecdotes can substantiate that. it harmed our image in the world, but for us to go back i think would be a serious mistake. host: georgetown, texas is next on the line for democrats. martha, go ahead. caller: i'm sorry, my name is
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barbara. yes, will the sentiment in our area -- former vice president dick cheney, there is a sentiment in our area that when he speaks of his concern about cheney. that is the way that we've tell. more so then our country. -- that is the way that we tell. host: you think he is concerned about his legal status, his legacy, or reputation, or what exactly? caller: his legal status, that the scope might become broader and then we will find out some important things far and above this with the cia, things
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they're talking about now, things surrounding the war. maybe some of that intelligence and money that was made, the contracts. i don't think we can go forward with a lot of the people until we solve some of the issues and questions out there. host: san diego, next up. caller: thank you for taking my call. mr. cheney i think is unfortunately coming close to giving aid and comfort to the enemy. he is sabotaging the current president of the u.s., the current military by each and every comment he makes. he should either remain quiet or be put into exile because he is forming this country in a way
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that no ex-official has ever done. he is a scary man. his boss, president bush has remained relatively silent. if anyone were to speak out and should be ex-president bush. mr. cheney has problems whether they be emotional i do not know -- i'm not a psychiatrist, but for the good of his nation he should shut up. host: thanks for the input this morning. the story is reaction to the comments by former vice president dick cheney. the headline here, the dick cheney interrogations' probe -- dick cheney says that the interrogations' probe is a political act. here are some comments on his comments. >> dick cheney has shown through the years, and frankly, a
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disrespect for the constitution, for sharing information with congress, lack of respect for the law, and i'm not surprised he is upset about this. the obama administration -- the president himself has been unbelievably bending in the direction of trying to be careful about what happens to national security, protecting security interest, being very sensitive about the cia's program gives and needs, and i think there's a little bit of tension between the white house itself and the lawyers and the justice department as to their obligation and how they see a law. in a sense that is good and proper. it shows that we have an attorney general who is not pursuing a political agenda, but doing what he believes the law requires. host: a couple more calls here.
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another caller from texas, on the republican line. caller: i'm not believing what i'm hearing. i cannot believe that these people who are suicidal, obviously. host: did you say suicidal? caller: yes, suicidal, because dick cheney, forgive me, it does not seem to be the prevailing sentiment this morning, but i think that dick cheney is looking for the best interest of this country. what to boarding -- go ahead of water board me -- water boarding -- it is not tortured. if they found things that kept the country safe -- these people who are commenting live in the safety and comfort of their own. living own they do not get these reports. it they do not have to act on
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them. they don't have to take in consideration of is pressing issues that must face these guys on a daily bases. the only reason that 9/11 happened was because the clinton administration neutered the cia. -- that must face these guys on a daily basis. the tick any power from the cia to gather intelligence, and -- they took power from the cia to keep us save. these people are suffering from bush derangement syndrome. it is not a personal vendetta that. i think dick cheney is brilliant and a real patriot i am looking out for us. host: one more call from texas,
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dorothy, on the line for the bearcats. caller: i have a comment in general on interrogation. first of all, we should not discuss our methods of interrogation in public. this hurts us all over the world. it should be discussed behind closed doors. mostly, i agree with john mccain, senator mccain. we should naturally look into it because hence the nuremberg trial, and i'm from germany -- we have put these criminals to trial. if there is any criminal activity, even interrogations, we need to put these people to try, but it should be done behind closed doors. host: thanks for the calls and we will change subjects here
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momentarily. we want to let you know about our health care picture coming up. it will be a visit at the va hospital center talking about the issues and what hospitals in particular are facing. we will speak with james cole and dr. john garrett who is chief of cardiac surgery. we'll be live this morning at 8:30 a.m., the first of three days looking at hospitals, administrators, and doctors on "washington journal." president obama and his family into their summer vacation at martha's menu. here is the chicago paper with their shop. here i will show you another photograph on the white house
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lawn as the family returned yesterday. we want to find your thoughts on this and what is ahead for the agenda of. president of the ap has a news analysis of what might be ahead on the obama agenda. -- we want to find at what is ahead for the agenda of president obama. back from his first presidential vacation, truncated by the death and remembrance of senator ted kennedy, obama settles into the oval office well aware that his approval ratings have fallen. the story further continues that the white house has confusingly indicated, then backed away from the possible abandonment of a
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government-run public option designed to cover 50 million who have no health insurance. such a lower-cost plan would embrace those who cannot afford it. we like to find out your thoughts. what are the major issues facing the president? what should be at the top of his agenda? congress will be backed a week from tomorrow. here is the front page this morning of ". the washington"" it says that many women stayed away from the polls in afghanistan -- from the front page of a booklet the washington post. it says that poor planning, fear, tradition, and at the feet conspired to deprive many afghan
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women of rights they had only recently begun to exercise. what should be at the top of the president's agenda? this is wilson, wyoming, on the line for democrats. caller: the number one issue is health care. what is amazing is that our companies cannot compete with the rest of the industrial world. if we have health care being added on to our private -- the other countries do not have this. in jackson, wyoming, police are
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coming out and taking people's cars because they cannot afford to pay hospital bills. host: they boot people's cars because they cannot pay hospital bills? caller: that's right. they are unemployed or under- employed. the hospital goes through the court system to request the police department take action because of passed bills. another thing, our churches should volunteer to have their properties taxed in each state to add to the healthcare reform. another thing, doctors because they have to make their college loans, have to make so much money.
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looked at france. it is paid by the state. host: we'll talk a lot more at 8:00 a.m. with senate connelly who held many town hall meetings during the recess. this story in the baltimore paper this morning, a obama's climate plan calls for sweeping efforts to develop new technology and strategies for using energy more efficiently.
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lake village, indiana, on the republican line. caller: good morning, my name is phyllis, and i have been. republican all been. i believe barack obama is a good man. even though i am a republican and i would not have voted for him, i believe his heart is correct, however, i believe he
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is being used. on health care, i believe it is sidetracking as for more important thing. the safety of our country is far more important. it won't do any good to have good health care if we're not safe. i believe the enemy is sidetracking us. the problems we're having right now are not the obama's fault or george bush's fault, or dick cheney's fault, and it is no one's fault but the christians. host: you said that you think the enemy is sidetracking s? caller: yes, the enemy is satan. our country was founded on christianity. we had revivals. but the christians are being persecuted right now.
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it is their own fault. god says that my people which are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my fac e and turn from their wicked ways, then i will hear their cry. host: andrews, north carolina, on the independent line. caller: it is ron. i think mr. obama needs to get this deficit under control before he worries about health care, and quit this investigation on the cia. if they have got another attack and kill the a lot more americans, then they would have asked why they did not do something to stop it. the bush administration and big cheney would probably -- the
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left- wingers would probably like towater board them. i would like mr. obama to answer questions about the radical sea has working in his office. host: about 20 more minutes on your thoughts about the president's agenda ahead. here is an article concerning tarp bailout money and how is being repaid. the u.s. has seen about $4 billion so far. losses are still a risk nearly one year after the federal rescue, taxpayers have begin to see profits from the hundreds of billions in aid that many critics thought might never be seen again. the profits collected from eight of the biggest banks who have fully repay their obligations to the government come to about $4 billion, or the equivalent of about 15% annually.
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massachusetts, mike, on the line for democrats. caller: good morning, but i think the president's main priority should be is jobs. health care and networked nothing if we're not working. i am an electrician and have been out of work for one year. -- health care is not worth anything if for no working. even if you do not have health insurance you cannot be refused healthcare. you can get it anyway. you should focus on jobs. if the american people would all but for the new guys on the ballot, but every incumbent out of office, this country would be in a lot better shape. i think jobs should be number one. where are all these shovel-ready
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projects i heard about? i kept hearing that. i've not seen any solar panels, no renewals, and no windmills. where are all the shovel-ready jobs? i'm tired of being out of work for one year. host: mike, what sort of places are you looking? you said you have not seen any of these shovel-ready projects. caller: i have looked everywhere. i go online every day to apply for jobs. i never did any callbacks. host: who is your congressman? caller: barney frank. host: have you talked to his office? caller: i am sure he is aware of it. that is all we heard when there were trying to pass that stimulus. i have not seen any of it in massachusetts. host: here it says that the concern is high that the new york mob may seek cut of stimulus pie.
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the new york state investigators to track organized crime believe some members have geared up to take advantage of the enormous cash influx, if they have not already, to wet their beaks.
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akron, ohio, good morning to joe on our republican line. caller: the money, i want to thank c-span for some interviews i have seen by brian lamb with some people who work in the va health-care industry. after seeing these interviews with people to have hands-on experience, i have to say "nobama" to his health care plans. host: what do you take away from that interview that aired last night? caller: the doctor was the chief of surgery and he was a ceo of this particular hospital. he explained specifically why he would be squeezed for cash. there would not be able to make
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enough money to support the hospital, newer technology, the staff. i would also like to quickly say that i tried to give obama a chance. i do not believe he is a good commander in chief. nor can he help our economy. host: the caller mentioned hour visit on "q &a." that will continue at a 30 a.m. this morning as we get the perspective of virginia doctors and hospitals. good morning, james, on the independent line from texas. caller: i'm an old man and will not be on this earth very much long. i really wish the american people would take us back to the
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type of country we were during world war ii. i have fought against communism and socialism all my life. that is what president obama is trying to take this country into, a communist dictatorship. a lot of his advisers are communists and socialists. our country will turn into one. i get kind of a cake as they're joking about the 2010 elections. -- kind of a kick. there may not be any 2010 elections. host: 1 not? caller: -- why not? caller: welcome from his trip, he has nationalized the banks, taking over the car company, tried to take over the health
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care, that is what. they do as soon as they get into power they try to take a wayguns from citizens so we cannot fight back -- that is what they do. all the communist did not just go away. host: here is a story from the philadelphia paper. the pearl harbor monument will be gone for five months as a goes to dry dock. also, an article this morning in "usa today" -- hundreds rally against gadhafi. more than 200 people gathered to tell him he is not welcome in
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their suburban new jersey community, including several who lost relatives in the 1988 bombing over scotland. the governor was among those at the event. the libyan government had been renovating a five-acre estate ahead of gadhafi's visit. he had been expected to pitch a tent on the grounds, but his representatives said friday he would stay in manhattan after rumors of his visit to new jersey sports and up. for -- of his visit to new jersey sparked an uproar. caller: i have always enjoyed c- span. i am only 25 years old. two points higher want to make. one is to the last caller when he said we should go back to the
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country of world war ii, he must have forgotten that franklin roosevelt was the president and all the programs initiated that we still have today was considered socialism back then. i am sure as an older man he would not want to give that up now. secondly, the president has a lot on his plate, but i hope that he can buckle down and work on one thing at a time. the economy is really bad right now and many people are out of work. although he had the cash for clunkers and other programs, people are not getting back to work. but with the healthcare issue they need to stick with it so they can get that job done. host: kevin, the first call we had it from massachusetts about and out of work electrician -- would you say that the president's priority should be jobs first before healthcare? caller: yes, i have to say so at
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this time. i can relate to that individual. i used to work on the assembly line here in chicago for ford motor co. and i was laid off. just now i am finding a job. at least if people are working, then they can seek medical treatment with their own the funds rather than the public option. host: where did you finally find work? caller: i had to find work at a local electronics store. there is a big pay different. people who are finding jobs are going from assembly plants to walmart. host: are you getting health care at this new job of yours? caller: no. host: we have about 10 more minutes of your calls. here is a writer from the opinion pages of "and "the new york times. -- from the "financial times." it says in
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short afghanistan is a war of choice. given the risks of withdrawal, he thinks mr. obama is not right to quit just yet, but to improve chances of success he must bring his ends and means into closer alignment. good morning, n.c., on the republican line. caller: thank you. i agree with philip that we need to get people back in jobs. i don't understand how we are so depleted in this nation. i understand that we do not realize with a broad spectrum of issues is. i love to get on the internet and see what people are saying about what the issues are with healthcare, but the bottom line
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is, i think president obama needs to take a couple of items and stick to those. americans need jobs and security. give us jobs and protection from our enemies. we could not ask for anything more. he could turn around his presidency and become the most popular president ever. host: alex, on our independent line. caller: how stibine the american public are, even c-span focusing on health care for weeks on end. people do not understand the correlations between what is going on with the corrupt government run by criminal. the war people, who was talking about the wars? we do not need to be in these
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needless wars we are in, all the jobs would come back. if we can get our corrupt government to get out of nafta, which obama lied about, one of his many lies. people have their own selfish interests at heart. give me a job, give me healthcare -- give me, give me -- you give something, people are dying needlessly in a war that should not exist. no one but ourselves attacked us on 9/11. host: alex from louisiana. here are at the last week of summer with the labor day weekend beginning this weekend, a big travel weekend. here is a story from the marketplace section. southwest presents a dilemma for thefa faa.
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the agency has a discovery of a significant maintenance lapse. should they forced the airline to ground the planes to enforce long standing air safety rules and even though the violations do not pose an immediate danger? taking the just temporarily out of service would seriously disrupt operations at the largest domestic carrier measured by passengers. southwest said it is seeking exemptions to continue operating the planes. faa managers and company officials are trying to work out a compromise by tuesday deadline. to virginia beach, good morning. remaining anonymous, go ahead, on the line for democrats. caller: yes, a comment regarding health insurance.
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i wonder how many women have stayed in an abusive marriage in order to be able to have the benefits of the husband's insurance? after 25 years of marriage ,i remarried my abuser it in order to be put back on his policy. i really think health insurance will be of benefit to people like my. so host: when did you remarry? caller: this was back in 1994 and he is now deceased. he was an alcoholic. host: what was the relationship after you remarry? did you think you might put yourself in significant peril? caller: i swallow my pride. he was ill then, his liver had gone bad. host: likewise, after he passed did you continue to get some of his benefits? caller: yes, i am on his
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insurance and had i not remarried him -- after the divorce after 25 years i was taken off his policies. i tried to stay on it but was told i could not. that left me in a predicament. i was left a pauper with no insurance. i never hear this comment put out there. host: do you have friends or no people in similar situations like that where you had to remarry after a divorce the caller: when i talk to personnel over at the base here in norfolk i did speak to a lady over there who tell me what she had done herself. and help me carry through with going ahead and remarrying him. it is something that i did not want to do. i knew my relatives would not understand it, they would --
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well, they did not understand. they could not understand if he was this bad a white i would remarry him. host: on a personal level were you able to reconcile the previous life you had with him? was he able to apologize deaths caller: he would verbally apologize, but i thought by a remarrying that was his silent way, quietly. host: but he never threatened or beat you again? caller: no, he was not in any condition to do that a. host: one more call here from bloomington, ill.. what should be on the top of the president's list coming back from vacation? caller: he should take his country back from corporate control. he should slow down imports with an import tax, and then
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stimulate consumer spending. this cash for clunkers program seems to have an effective, but first they have to slow down the imports. host: things, coming up we will look at health care and be joined by a congressman from virginia who held a town hall meeting last week, one of several. first, though, a news update from c-span radio. >> nato says the president obama's top commander in afghanistan has finished his 60-they strategic review of the war and has concluded that the situation is serious, but achievable. the report is being sent to the pentagon and to nato headquarters. former homeland security director tom ridge's speaking earlier said that people have
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made too much of his acquisition of politics played it to a bigger role in activating the terror alert warning before the 2000 elections. he says there was a lively discussion among cabinet officials of whether to the dealer at a higher status, but that it was not done. the space shuttle discovery dr. glassman. the astronauts chaired when the doors swung open and the two crews greeted each other with hugs and handshakes. . .
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>> bbok tv continues in this week. the kennedy legacy, and the joe scarborough. >> in more than a dozen works, one author has critique the american public education system. sunday, he mill take your questions live. >> tonight, texas republican john culver said shows how republicans can use technology to stay in touch with their constituents. host: jerry connolly represent
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the 11th district and virginia. he is with us to talk about health care legislation, town hall meetings he has had what are you hearing from these town hall meetings? what have you told your colleagues that you have heard? guest: most people agree we need reform and health care system, but there is lot of anxiety about the details, and there is also a lot of misinformation out there. i have to say, the opposition has done a better job of bringing the issues. they have spent a lot of time on dealing with this information about what is in the bill and what is not. host: we have these issues of town hall the growers -- goerrs raising concerns. what are your concerns?
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guest: i am concerned by expanding health care, we have to make sure we have enough primary health care physicians, and nurses, to staff to bring 47 million people back into the system. host: we covered one of your town hall meetings in springfield last week. we are going to be showing that tomorrow. reporting on that, and last week, "and politico" wrote that the failure of reported to anticipate the reaction failed to gain effort for the bill. he wrote, "they framed the issue using a classic to appear " how do you we frame the issues now?
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hostguest: the political tactics used by the organized opposition to any health care reform, i would predict that part, at least with the democratic party -- caucus. there will be a sense that we have to pass health care reform this year, the respective -- irrespective of different parts of the bill. in some ways, august may have contributed to some congealing in the democratic party. host: you could be seen as a bellwether for that, being a new congressman. it was a seat held by a republican, tom davis. your sense now is the efforts by
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the opposition for health care are not swing things in your direction. the speak to fellow freshman, and is that the sense that you are getting? guest: increasingly, but you cannot let those tactics destroy in the need for reform. if we do not do anything, we will most assuredly hang separately. host: republicans, 202-737-0001. democrats, 202-737-0002. independents, 202-628-0205. bob dole, the former senate leader writes, in this morning's "washington post" about how president obama code we-frame the debate. he says --
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guest: i think that is great advice. i immigrated admirer of president obama, but at this point, he has to be more than in johnson and get engaged, get engaged, cut some deals. what ever he has to do as the president to get congress to get to a bill. and he is also going to have to show some passion for the
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subject. sometimes, president obama is the cool, analytical, cerebral leader, and that was a tremendous asset last fall when everything seemed to be falling apart. but he also needs to be in command for a subject that is so important for him and his presidency, to help him overcome some of the fears that have been spread. host: the town hall meeting that we covered last week will be airing tomorrow. rochester, new york. caller: good morning, i look forward to the discretion. i want to know how people will be eligible to receive benefits and the upcoming legislation? guest: i think we will verify it
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the way we verify any other brand. most of the people who are not injured who would be brought into the system are likely to participate in a private insurance program, not government. so they would sign up just like any other citizen currently does. with respect to the gut -- public option, i think it will function like medicare. they will need proof of legal residence and citizenship. those who are here illegally would be disqualified from these reforms. host: fairfax, virginia. good morning. caller: good morning, all i am one of your constituents. two quick points. i own a small construction company. we build houses. two years ago offered young --
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health insurance to my younger guys. they are shortsighted, like i was when i was younger. if this passes and i have to provide health insurance to people who do not want it, it will be another bill for me. i'm looking at my options. what do i do, treat them as 1099 consultants? then they have to get their own health care. second, this business of illegal aliens. it is rampant in the construction business. on one hand, you feel sorry for people here trying to work, but on the other hand, i do not feel bad because there are spending all the money at home. guest: as i said, illegal aliens will not be eligible for these reforms we are talking about with respect to your first
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point, there are a lot of young people who, unless they have an employee, the employer mandate, they will opt not to participate. we need those people in the risk pool so that they can bring down the cost for everyone. that is the whole point of creating the larger risk pools. people like you will be able to find insurance that is affordable. that is one of the goals of health care reform. host: nashville, tennessee. republican line. caller: i would just like to make a small comment. all of these people at the town hall meetings, they are so outraged they say they do not want the government taking over health care. when you all get that, why don't
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all the democrats come up with some legislation demanding the republicans demand everyone who is on medicare and medicaid did it up. then we will see who is willing to come up with legislation to demand medicare is given up if they are so caught raged they do not want the government in their health care. thank you. guest: you make a good point. i have heard people tell me and say are what the government of my medicare. of course, we have to inform them that medicare is a government program. there is a lot of disinformation out there. there is no proposal for government takeover. the most we are talking about is the creation of one option among many in a health exchange,
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similar to how we have it available to federal employees. in that exchange would be lots of options, one of which would be a public option that could bring down the cost of insurance by competing with private industry. providing some sort of competition will bring down prices for everyone and keep them honest. that is important, especially for an industry that saw their profits soar 428%. host: did you ask your constituents, the people received medicare? guest: there were 500 people in the room. every hand in the room went up when i asked to cut medicare. no one wanted to give it up.
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we may say that we despise and do not trust the government, but the fact is, they are already involved in health care. by and large, medicare is a pretty popular program that is working well. host: 1 article in the "new york times" talks about the state of health care, saying --
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do you sense that? guest: certainly, at my meeting, it is evenly divided. there are lots of folks who are passionate advocate for reform. there are lots of others who have serious and grave reservations about the fine print in that reform. the generation that remembers the new deal is fading away, so we have to make a rational argument about why we cannot afford to continue down the path we are on. because it will not be sustainable for anybody. if you like your medicare today, which most recipients to, we want to make sure it is there for you tomorrow, as well as for you and your grandchildren.
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host: maryland. good morning, rita. caller: i just have a comment and a question. i am an independent and i have listened to a lot of obama. it is all about what both parties must do. certain people have interests and holdings, and in the meantime, we have insurance companies, and then the lay people suffer. it is not just obama that needs to be heard. all of us have allowed this mess to be created. now we have a president that actually works hard and we criticize everything he does. we need to put the brakes on that can focus on getting everyone health care.
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and the question i had was, earlier i thought i heard something to the effect of the congressman having a concern of the enough health care providers if we provided coverage. are we saying that we allow people to stay sick and die? what are we suggesting as a remedy for the people in the meantime we do not have insurance? what can we do about those people? guest: you make a very good point. with respect to your second point, clearly, we are going to need more primary health-care physicians. i want to make sure what ever bill i vote for addresses that fact, and in an aggressive way.
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how will we make sure we are graduating more primary care physicians? to be a primary care physician is a fairly unsatisfying job. but it is the least pain, your specialist friends make more money and have more don't aspects, but it is the function of primary-care physicians who will be the key of health care reform working. improving the posture of the country and bring down costs. we need more of them, especially as we are trying to bring 47 million people into the system, on injured basis. with respect to your first point, one of the things that have said and me as a freshman member of congress is to see the leadership of the other side has decided that no matter what, we are going to oppose health care
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for political reasons because it can't hurt president obama's presidency. jim demint was pretty explicit about it, saying that this is his waterloo. i think that is an appalling thought, and in other words, you do not care that there is a bill that addresses the catastrophic problem we have of health care. you do not care about affordability of health insurance. you do not care about the need to and cherry picking because of pre-existing conditions. i just think that is appalling. how about sitting down and looking at the merits? if we can get a reform bill that everyone pretty much agrees is the right way to go, everyone
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benefits, republicans and democrats. the sharp part of the divine, in perspective of the contents of health care reform, to me is enormous because of health care reform. host: people who are happy with their plan, how do you convince them that brings me to be fixed? guest: they have seen their premium costs have doubled. copays costs have also doubled. if we stay on this trajectory, that will continue. they will benefit by bringing more people in and having more competition. there is almost no family in america that is injured that has some horror stories about the intracompany denying care. 40 percent of us who have insurance have a previous pre- existing condition, and we are at the whim of the insurance
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company to decide whether or not they will cover costs. that can be devastating because this is a lifelong illness. host: illinois. jim on the republican line. caller: two quick comments, and the question. i was somewhat disappointed to be your mischaracterization of two issues. the first being republican opposition to the whole health care issue that is being debated. second, your comments regarding medicare. i have been paying into medicare my whole life, just as i have been doing with social security, my entire working life. i would be a fool, upon being eligible to collect money from these programs, to turn my back on those programs, one must the
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government was willing to make medicare and social security deductions from my table optional, or refund to me all the money is taken from me over my 30-year, for. as to my question, i have tried to fall in the health-care debate, and it is a complex issue. i was disappointed the democrats tried to rush this through congress so that there would be a done deal before the august recess. with something this complex, that was dreaming. host: was that a tactical mistake? guest: i was one of those who called for holding off. i did not want to rush into voting for a bill that i believe is still a work in progress. so i agree with that.
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with respect to his disappointment with republican leadership, that is a fact. john boehner and others made it clear that it has nothing to do with the context of the bill. they will oppose it. i have spoken to some republicans who do not like the direction of the leadership, but they have made it very clear that they will be held accountable. at least in the house. that is disappointing to me. there is no republican alternative and house, so finding people we can work with is a challenge. i have practiced by partisanship all my life and i would like to see more of it on the hill. with respect to your comments on medicare, i do not think anyone
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was suggesting that people give up medicare. it is actually a popular program with seniors. not because it is an intent and that is paid into, but because it works pretty well. we need to look at the benefits and cost of the program, which helps track the amount of money that is put into the program. so we have to make sure we bring down the cost of health care so we can bring down the federal deficit and continued to make sure medicare it is there for future generations. host: you talked about the need for primary physicians. we have one comment from twitter -- we have seen comments about the need for reforming medical
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malpractice. guest: all of us did -- agree that defensive medicine, worrying that someone is going to sue you is a factor. then we do not need to convince ourselves that that is the key that is going to unlock the high cost of medical care in the country. it will not. there was a study done on all the hospitals in texas. they have the most strict cap awards on malpractice suits in the country. but they found was, the cost savings, they were not passed onto consumers. secondly, the rise of the cost of health care in texas exceeded states who did not have such a cap. so there is a correlation between the quality of care. it is absolutely a factor. is it a major factor that is
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actually contributing significantly to health care cost? probably not. host: dungeons' bill, pennsylvania. good morning. caller: good morning. i have been listening to the debate and i wanted to share a horror story that happened to me with my wife. in 2005, she had a miscarriage. in 2007, we found out she was pregnant again. we address our concerns to a doctor and he prescribed her in medication, and not permit a name, not what held her in her pregnancy. our insurance denied it, and then one month after that -- and
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i could not afford to pay for this medication out-of-pocket. one month after that she lost the baby. i was so distraught. i called up the insurance carrier and i said, this is what you did. the guy just said to me, i do not know what you want me to do, i am just sitting in a cubicle. i was left with no satisfaction. that was something that will stick to me for the rest of my life. there are death penalty right now. you might like your insurance company but you will never know whether or not they will approve something or not until the time comes. guest: i hear that story all the time. you asked me in the beginning what i hear when i am in my district. i hear stories like this,
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problems with the current system. everyone has a story. trying to make sure they cannot carry pick against preexisting conditions, making sure we have the effective deployment of benefit so that capricious decisions by insurance bureaucrats -- not government bureaucrats, who sit in a cubicle making life-and-death decisions about a procedure that you need can be covered -- we need to reform that system. a lot of the organized opposition that has been orchestrated this summer has been organized by the very same industry -- the insurance industry -- that does not want these reforms and does not want competition.
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it has propagated some fears and misinformation so that folks may not take a look at the system and see how it can improve for them and their families. host: tampa bay, florida. good morning. caller: i have several questions and comment. i want to know if you have read the entire hr 3200 from cover to cover. i have, and it is difficult to understand. i also want to know what they had injected some of the proposals by the republican party and some amendments to help ease people's minds against paying for abortion, paying for illegal immigrants. that language is very vague. also, some of the reform that could help such as opening up
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markets between states, tort f reform. i know that we have a broken health insurance system and legislation could be passed to correct that. guest: in a lot of the opposition talking points, we are always asked, have you read the bill? i have read the bill. i disagree. i think the bill is quite specific. it is very detailed. in fact, you need a guide to know what some other references are to, it is not specific. there is nothing in the bill that will allow for abortions to be financed. perhaps that needs to be further clarified. if the caller is suggesting there will be republican amendments to do so, we need to
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see but they will be. but are people going to offer such amendments, if they would pass, and then vote for the bill? unfortunately, no. i have read all of hr 3200, and i have gone to lots of briefings with the staff. we had a five-hour marathon where we went through every section of the bill with expert congressional staff who are knowledgeable in the area so that we had a comprehension of what is in the bill. of course, we have been debating in forcit for quite some time. host: of course, you can see his town hall meeting getting underway about now on c-span2. thank you for being here.
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first, three days of coverage at the va hospital center. we hear from va hospital administrators. we will be right back. >> go inside the supreme court to see the public places and those are rarely seen basis. the supreme court, home to america's highest court. "book tv"continues this week in prime time. the kennedy legacy. and joe scarborough on the future of the conservative
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movement. >> national book award winner and jonathan kozol has critique the american education system. he will take your questions live. >> tonight, texas republican john culverson shows how his constituents can stay connected using technology. host: 10 miles from the u.s. capitol in arlington, virginia is the va hospital center. it is a 350-bed not-for-profit medical center. we are live there all week to get a perspective on health care debate. we are live in the emergency room with the president and chief executive officer, as well
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as the chief doctor of cardiac surgery thank you for being here. as president and ceo, mr. kohl, what are your responsibilities? guest: it is analogous to being the general manager of the hotel, but in a much more complex environment. we are responsible for making sure all of these support services are available for physician and staff. also, i work closely with the medical staff on our quality initiatives, improving quality, also in the financial management of the organization. host: what are the revenues of the hospital in a year? guest: last year in + $280 million. host:, many employees? callerguest: about 800 medical f
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that is totally in -- independent. host: do you have doctors on staff? guest: we do. we employ about 35 physicians, but the overwhelming majority of physicians are independent practitioners who choose to bring their patients a year. host: can any accredited doctor in the u.s. practice here? guest: that would be the first step, but then each physician applies for a privilege here. we employ several people full- time whonvets the individual, is peer reviewed by constituents, and a further review by a committee of medical staff, and then finally by the board of directors to grant final improvement -- approval.
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host: why are some doctors on staff, why are some not? guest: we are seeing the independent practice of medicine for some physicians is becoming less attractive to to economic pressures, lifestyle concerns, and we are seeing primary-care physicians and some specialists entering into an employment relationship. host: where do your revenues come from? guest: fundamentally from our insurers. about 46% of our revenue comes from medicare and medicaid, government programs, and the balance comes from private insurers. host: this is a relatively affluent area, probably pretty well-insured, also with the government as an employer in the area. what is the percentage of
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uninsured that comes through your doors? guest: probably above 4%. in addition, 5% of patients are medicaid. medicaid pays a us only about 65% of what our actual cost of care is. host: could you explain, dr. garrett, he was a guest last night in this discussion. one of the comments that you made was the va hospital loses 20% on all patients in medicare. how do you determine the cost of the procedure? how is that determined? guest: perhaps i could address that. if you look at what goes in determining cost, first of all this death.
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-- first of all this staff. there is the expense of staff and. there is supply costs. and then there is the equipment that is here. that is usually calculated by applying a depreciation expense for the equipment. we are very fortunate here to be extremely well equipped with the latest in diagnostic and equipment, but all that costs money. host: is a free-market system? guest: i would say is a hybrid. it is a free market, but a great deal is determined by the pacers. as i pointed out, the government today is one of our major payers, not only for this hospital, but it is typical for most. host: i want to reintroduce dr.
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john garrett, president of the board of doctors. dr. garrett, you talked last night in the interview about the importance of having the latest medical technology. why is that so important, if it increases the cost? guest: well, it is better for patient care. as i said last night in the interview, every year things improve. you have companies that make devices, drugs that are better than what is currently available. there is lots in the pipeline. if you do not embrace those technologies, it does not take long before your are practicing
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medicine that is five years outdated. that is not good for patients. host: we want to get the callers involved. we have divided them differently than we usually do you can see them on the screen. if you are in short, 202-737- 0001. if you are not injured, 202-737- 002. and if you are in medical practitioner, 202-628-0205. how closely are you following the health-care debate in washington, and what concerns you the most? guest: i will speak to that
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first, if i may. from the hospital perspective, one of the primary concerns is the plans being proposed is looking to achieve cuts in medicare of over $500 million in the next 10 years. from the hospital perspective, that number was derived from and dartmouth study, which showed significant variation in medicare costs for medicare beneficiaries across the country. for example, in most of the metropolitan areas in virginia, the cost per beneficiary is about $800 a year. but in south florida is about $16,000 a year. -- $8,000 a year. so there is better cost for better efficiency, but the
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proposed controls on medicare expenses is across-the-board percentage cuts. so states like virginia, wisconsin, iowa, minnesota, that have good quality and relatively low cost, and then there are states like texas, florida, massachusetts, that had a relatively high cost. so is simple across-the-board reduction in reimbursement applies the same, and in fact, penalizes relatively low-cost states, and effectively awards high-cost states. i do not think it is a good way to get rid of the excess. i would like to see an approach which provides incentives for cost reduction but does not penalize those that are already doing a better job. host: does the public option were you?
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guest: -- worry you? guest: it does. medicare is a public option, as we discussed. they pay hospitals less than the cost of care. i see no reason to believe another public option would not follow that same approach. host: dr. garrett, same question? guest: as board chairman, simply, i worry about the hospital having less funds available to allow us to continue to lead in the forefront of our patient care. as a practicing doctor, unconcerned about losing the independence about being a doctor, having a relationship with a patient, off from what i
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think he or she needs -- offering what i think he or she needs, in an independent way. i think that may change, and that is key to what makes american medicine so wonderful. this ability to take care of our patients and send them to other physicians that you know will give them the care and will not the limited, as i believe we are threatened to be. host: as president and ceo, and do you have a relationship with the local congressman here, jim moran, or with senators webb or warner? guest: we are all open to dialogue. we recently met with senators web and warner, and they are willing to consider our views.
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host: let's take some phone calls. first phone call from new hampshire on the insured line. caller: good morning. i listened to your interview last night. you were very informative and i learned a lot. my question is, two years ago my wife had a perforated ulcer in her stomach. she became spooked -- septic, spent two months in the i see you. because of complications, the bill was over $1 million. if we did not have insurance, in your opinion, -- i find you to be very honest -- which she had received the same care if we did not have insurance? mr. cole, i would like to hear
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from you as well. host: dr. garrett? guest: i can tell you 100% she would have received exactly the same care. i do not know how to say that any clearer. we do it all the time. $1 million is a lot of money, but as a practicing physician, i do not check or know if people have insurance. all the other physicians are just like that. we come to work to take care of sick patients. in this hospital, last year we gave away $30 million in uncontested care. it is part of our mission. i hope your wife is doing ok, but she would have done the same care. guest: i would agree.
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in fact, last year we provided $30 million in uncompensated care, as the doctor said. we also provide free diagnostic care to out-patients at the arlington free clinic and at the arlington pediatric center. the experience here is typical of america's nonprofit hospitals. that is why we are here. host: you also have a business to run. where did -- who did that $30 million go to? guest: part of it was patients who could simply not pay their bills. parted it was a subsidy of medicare-medicaid. around $5 million to medical education expenses that are not fully reimbursed.
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we are a teaching hospital. we provide training for residents at georgetown, primarily. so there is a lot of expensive and is not directly reimbursed. host: 9 law, do you have to treat anyone who comes to the emergency room? guest: as a nonprofit hospital, that is part of our obligation. host: is that federal? guest: i am not really sure. it is simply what we do. guest: a physician has a choice. guest: the physician does not need to enter into that relationship, but again, that is what physicians do. host: that brings it in the liability issue how many
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lawsuits are pending against a hospital at any one time? guest: i would say perhaps one or two. host: is that a big concern for you, liability issues? guest: it is a concern on two levels. one on the immediate effect of being sued, and what goes with that, but perhaps a larger concern is the cost of defensive medicine. trying to make sure the hospital and individual physicians are in the best possible position to defend themselves. we are fortunate in virginia to have a cap on malpractice awards. but i read a study recently by price waterhouse coopers on the cost of defensive medicine. they are estimating it is as much as $200 billion per year.
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we are in the midst of a discussion about national health reform. obviously, everyone wants to see everyone injured, but that costs money. -- insured, but that costs money. i am disappointed that the legislation has not looked at the cost of coverage. when they are estimating that $200 billion per year is spent in duplicative testing, consol that may not be necessary, but are necessary to define that primary-care was rendered. i think that is a sincere that needs to be addressed. host: waukegan, illinois. caller: i want to answer the first caller's question about if
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he would have gotten the same care. i have had two heart attacks. i am on medicare. i have good doctors. perhaps you will know my doctor. i am located in waukegan, illinois. i watched the questions last night. not wanted to ask him say -- wanted to ask him to repeat that private insurers needed some competition. thank you. guest: private insurance does need competition. my understanding is there are restrictions about competition across state lines, and other restrictions. i think competition is good, and competition would ultimately bring the price down. guest: all i would agree.
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one topic in reform is insurance reform. one of the straight forward things that could be attacked is to come up with a corporate regulations so that insurance companies can compete across state lines. it has been argued that there are 17,000 insurance companies but there is a reality that in any given state there are state regulations. opening up insurance across state lines could be a big help. host: would you rather deal with medicare or bluecross blueshield? [laughter] guest: with bluecross blueshield we get to negotiate contract
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every few years. with medicare, every few years they tell me how much they will pay me for an admission. so it is a negotiating militia chip with private insurers, medicare and dictates what they will pay. host: dr. garrett last night said that insurance companies, are in a sense, overcharged, because medicare under-charges. as a former patient in this hospital and someone who has good insurance, i presume i was overcharged? guest: as i said, medicare pays less in cost. that subsidy, if you will, becomes a cost to the hospital that is passed on to private insurers. to be more direct, absolutely. private insurance companies and their subscribers subsidize the
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underpayments net government interest pays today. and they are fully aware of that. host: so one person could be in a bed over here at $100 a day, your cost. but the person with medicare could be paying $75? guest: that is a fair way of putting it. host: next phone call from del rey, ohio. caller: i wanted you to remark on the employee insurance coverage at your hospital. i work and a small private hospital here in ohio. we have seen our premiums double in the last six years. my deductible now it is now $2,000. and i am working at a hospital. they have a two-tier program
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where nurses can get a $1,000 deductible 9010, and i feel like i cannot get coverage that is affordable and decent, and i work with people all day. we all know what a 80/20 plan would mean. our hospital has had employees with cancer who have had to have spaghetti dinners and car washes to help them pay for their medical care. guest: i think insurance offerings of hospitals, employers, they vary from location to location. we have been fortunate here to provide 100% coverage for hospitalization for any employee to use the services here. we do have deductibles. it is just a few hundred
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dollars. it varies among hospitals, as it does among all employers. host: as a businessman, are you offering your employers competing plans, do you have a contract with one insurer? guest: we give them a list of choices. we will probably offering another one next year. host: but at the same time, it is an expense. guest: absolutely. host: next phone call from upland, calif.. from the uninsured line. guestcaller: i have been uninsu for about 12 years, i have not really been sick. i do have two questions.
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basically, how much of the funding that your hospital gets goes to nutrition, diet, teaching? guest: guest: -- we do not havec funding for that. host: let us talk about preventive care.
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how much emphasis is put on that? guest: first of all, we are a hospital. if something in the past has not worked, i think preventive medicine is extremely important. i do not think it is a valid argument that is going to save the day because people are still going to get old and get cancer, heart disease, hospitals. but i think that preventive care is key for younger groups, to establish good habits. three, four decades from now, we could reap the rewards. host: indiana, on the in sured line. caller: i wonder if you read the "new york post" article that
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was out last week? there was also an article where he talks about connie terrorism. coverage should be held for those who are non-disabled. not from those who are potential benzes and. an example is not guaranteeing health services to people with dementia. also, dr. blumenthal has long advocated government spending controls. he concedes there will be associated with a longer wait and reduce availability and new devices, but he says it is about time americans get good care. he also says basic amenities like hospital rooms provide
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more hospitals. this kind of goes against what the doctor was saying about wanting to have the advanced care, the latest technologies. it sounds like what they want to do is hold everything steady to keep costs down and not treat patients as patients but as pick and choose, everyone gets the same will quality health care, instead of high health care. host: so what is your opinion about all that? caller: i believe we need health care reform, but i think it could be done easier. there are only about 15 million people who need this. to overhaul the whole thing for just 15 million is uni --wise is
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unwise. . . i've seen in understand a lot of what the caller was talking about. but i think there has to be some practicality in what we spend. i think you can start with physicians' and families and all
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of us being aware of what things cost. and at least having a discussion about it with the patient or with the family before doing it. you know, traditionally, doctors have not had that role. we just do what is best. i think it does behooves us all to understand what the costs are and make practical decisions. guest: i would concur with his remarks. host: this year relationship as chairman of the board and president? how professional? -- what is your relationship? guest: he is the boss. dr. garrett is chairman of the board and has done an exceptional job in casting a vision and even a passion throughout the organization for political excellence, and the
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whole piece that you experienced, when you are here, a real passion for the entire patients experience. as you know, and i think most people that are watching know that when people come to a hospital, it is usually because they're concerned that something is a very wrong. so they're very anxious, and in many cases, scared. so we really work hard in that not only providing good clinical care, but being sensitive to that anxiety and of trying to help relieve that. that spirit in the direction comes directly from the board and from dr. garrett as chairman. guest: i am here a lot. my office is right upstairs. over the past decade, obviously, i have gone into his hair a lot. host: are you employed by the hospital or private? guest: i am a private practice.
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host: when you say you have an office here, do you rent the office or own it? guest: i rent the office. everything that i use here that is not mine, i pay for it. host: is that a revenue stream for the hospital? guest: it is to a certain degree. on campus, we have several medical offices that are leased to private physicians. host: do any of the doctors' own their offices? guest: in one of the buildings, the offices are owned. that building was built in the 1970's, i think. host: do you get patients as customers? guest: partially, in the sense that we want them to come back should they have future needs. this gets to not only providing the technically correct care and the clinical care but trying to
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satisfy their needs and treat them as human beings, the way that anyone of us would like to be treated. host: do you find that a lot of people do not understand that a hospital is a business and needs to make money or they have a disagreement with that philosophy? guest: to be candid, i do not think a lot of people here to fore have thought about that. people tend to not think about hospitals until they need one, and then when they need one, it is very urgent. and the financial aspect of that is taking care of after the fact. host: next call for jim cole and dr. garrett comes from union city, new jersey, a medical professional. caller: yes, i think some words are important to understand. when you talk about cost, i think what you are really trying to say is, what is your price or
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what are your charges, not what is your cost. i would say that -- to that, our costs of business have increased tremendously over the years due to regulation, medicare requirements or accreditations, continuing education that is required for our licensed professionals to maintain their license, so our costs are outpacing the ratio that it used to be to our reimbursements. the other thing is, not enough doctors -- she know, i think that is a code message for the medical schools and the teaching hospitals wanting to get more money from the government. lastly, i would say that, as a medical professional and provider, i have to agree that
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medicare advantage programs should be eliminated. and think it is a windfall for the insurance companies, and it is not necessary. i think medicare does a good job of regulating providers. that visit. host: what is your profession? caller: i have a small private practice. host: you are a doctor? caller: i am not a doctor. i provide artificial limbs and braces and orthopedic shoes. host: so a medical supply company? caller: we're a prosthetic and orthotics provider. thank you. host: what would you like to respond to? guest: the part about it maybe being a facades that they're not enough doctors. i would not agree with that. at the that there are fewer
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physicians being trained. i think that the horizon of what it will be like to practice medicine has changed somewhat. i know in the field of surgery, there is expected to be a shortage of surgeons in the next 10 years. in my own field, cardiac surgery, we're currently not filling the training slots that had waiting lists to get into a one time. part of the reason for that is that you're typically i knew their mid-30s when you finish your training to be courteous surgeon, and that is a long time. and of the type of person that wants to do that is also typically the type of person that wants to be independent and not so are barely regulated. so it stands to reason that that person might pick something else
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to do. >cguest: i was 35 when i got my first job. host: what was the full cost of your medical training? guest: what i can remember is i went to emory in atlanta, and my tuition was about $5,000 a year. then i went to the university of alabama in birmingham for medical school. it seemed like it was about $10,000 per year for four years. then i started training in surgery. in those days, we made about $14,000 a year and slept in the hospital every other night. but what they used to say, that is better than nothing, the older guys would say they did not pay us anything. but when i finished, i note, you
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know, a lot of money. it took me, like a mortgage, probably dictate to pay that off. but i was lucky i could pay it off. no regrets. host: we learned last night that your wife is a pediatrician and you are a cardiac surgeon. what is the difference in your malpractice insurance rates? guest: it is huge. my rates are exponentially > my wife's. which in my rates are exponentially greater than my wife's. i would say probably 50 times more than she has. host: is there a doctor anymore that has not been sued? guest: i think there are doctors. i mean, personally, in my entire career, i was sued one time, and it was dropped.
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ok. but this still does not change this the year that is ingrained in all of us. we just do things a little more over the top to decrease the possibility that someone might ask why we did your did not do that. host: our next caller is from michigan. it is on our uninsured line. please go ahead. hostcaller: this morning. i had a heart attack last june at age 46 and ended up in the hospital and had complications. i lost 10 units of blood and almost died. i spent two weeks in the hospital. i am is starting to feel a little better. i am still weak. i do not have a lot of strength,
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but i am doing the best i can. i cannot work. for i now owe the hospital $218,000. i have no insurance and have not had insurance in the last five years. host: are you employed? caller: not anymore. i lost my job when i had my heart attack. i do not have any medical leave. now i cannot be insured because i have a pre-existing condition. i am extremely bummed out said it was taken off the tape -- table and i will be angry if the public option is not included. if you leave health care in the hands of the private sector and ford as private entities, nothing will change and i will be left out of the loop and so will my family. i am just tired of it. i am tired of corporate america running everything. that is all i have to say.
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have a nice day. guest: it is certainly a difficult situation that she is facing. i think everybody wants to see a system where everyone can be in short, were there no -- people do not lose insurance because of prior history or complications. we just have to find a responsible way to pay for it. host: that woman, $218,000 -- would she be allowed to come back to this hospital going bad? >> of course she would. at that amount, i imagine the hospital will work with fiducia she can pay anything toward that. -- will work with her to see if she can pay anything toward that. she or an insurance company will pay it. the cost will be passed on to
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other insurers. host: next call from kentucky on in the injured line. -- on the insured line. hello? please go ahead. caller: please do not cut me off. we only get on one surplus a year. i wanted to tell the gentleman -- i appreciate the doctor being so candid about treating the patient regardless whether he could pay or not. if this bill was over $1 million, i expect he would have had to take bankruptcy to be able to afford to care for his wife. and we know that that is the leading cause of bankruptcy in this country, medical liability.
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the other thing i wanted to state, i have two or three questions. for those on the advantage plan, humana is the local insurance company here in louisville, and i read that they had a 44% profit last quarter, and i think there major focus has been the advantage plan. my representative is willing to take the choices that we have if this passes. i have heard several other legislatures, so that is another myth. the other thing -- isn't there a government program that is reimbursing some what you're uninsured care? and our physicians monitor train themselves as well as they should? we have had many doctors here church was selling illegal drugs, false medicare, and
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several sexual assaults. i would like your comments on that, please. host: thank you. first, medicare part c. she is the second of years to bring that up. does that come into your professional life at all? guest: it really has not been a major factor here. i cannot speak to that. host: what about a government program to reimburse the hospital for an insured people. host: i am not aware of such a program. host: finally, medical monitoring, how are doctors monitored? guest: well, in the hospital, there is a committee called a clinical risk-management committee. and any sort of event that happens relates to a physician in the hospital, it goes to the committee. it is discussed by committee of the physicians peers and
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appropriate action is taken. on the broader point, doctors are people. just like most people are good, not everybody is. i am the first one to get in line against the dishonest physicians, of the physicians that are over prescribing fraud. but most doctors, like most people, are good. host: we learned last week from tom scully, former head of centers for medicare and medicaid, that only about 40% of doctors are represented by the ama. use it if you're not. worry not a member of the ama? -- wiry not a member? guest: that sort of person within the leadership began at
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not to speak for me. i am independent. i am not -- i want to maintain the ability to practice in the pan and medicine and not be overly regulated. and i think the ama crossed the line years ago. host: president obama had some hospital executives in a month or two that, and of the board hasn't there were going to save $155 billion. what was your reaction to that? guest: well, as i said, i think it is achievable, frankly. but it has got to be done in a responsible way where those hospitals that have done a good job of controlling costs and providing high-quality are not penalized. and we do deal with the
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geographic variation in cost. there is documentation that there is significant variation. but we need to be focused on reducing those costs in the high cost areas and promoting the incentives and trying to learn from those areas that had a low costs and good quality. host: next call is from california. a medical professional. guest: i have a segment -- i am is 73 passio-year-old working physician. i know this is a personal question, but you are on national tv. i would like the doctor to tell me how much money he makes out of just doing his medical profession and how much his wife makes as a pediatrician. he is a cardiac surgeon.
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the difference in their incomes would be very interesting. number two, this hospital that you are talking about right now or you are in is a very elite hospital. i am in a small town, and hospital just recently built a $7 million cancer center, a whole new building, yet they are all crying about losing money and the government is not paying enough. where does the money come from? i watched a new cancer electronic scalpels last night that your hospital bought for $7 million. there is a lot of ways in hospital competition and hospital expenditures that would go to help poor people. host: i appreciate your call. how much money do you make?
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guest: i was a gynecologist practicing in the center valley. most of my patients were in the agricultural and -- industry. i am a board certified gynecologist and spend about the same amount of training as you did, and i made about $250,000 a year and that was next. i could have tabled that in new york city or san francisco. host: thank you for being so candid. >> i will pass on the income question. but i will comment about that instrument. we do not lose money. we made 1.7% and a larger last year -- margin last year which give us money to say if and also to buy new equipment. a typical equipment budget can
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be as high as $30 million. if we lose money, we will either go out of business -- so we have to do things to prevent that. we can offer less or lay off individuals. regarding caring for poor people, we care for poor people. last year, over $30 million in uncompensated care. if you come to this hospital and do not have insurance, we've made you, is semantics care of you, i will brief you, and i will see three times a day and in the middle of the night. it does not matter. host: is va hospital center and elite hospital? >guest: i think we are at least
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in terms of our medical and nursing staff and the way we have been able to equip the hospital over the years. but to put that in perspective, last year we had about 1.7% bottom line on roughly $288 million. >host: so little over $30 million? guest: have to add the depreciation expense on building and equipment. so our bottom line was about $4.5 million. from that, we have to reinvest in equipment or more. i think you would find most organization not bragging about a 1.7% bottom line. we are essentially break-even. many hospitals in the country are below break-even in their financial operations. we are fortunate. we're in the washington metro area, are relatively affluent
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area, where many people have good reimbursement. yet, we're delivering over $30 million in uncompensated care. host: where does that $30 million fit into the business plan? is that part of the overhead did you include? >> it is an expense just like supplies are an expense, care that is not compensated is an expense as well. host: we have a few minutes left with our two guests from the va hospital center. wichita, kan., on our uninsured line. caller: the morning. -- good morning. i have been interested in how this scenario plays out. i will like to ask a question to people there. if i break the windshield of my car and called to get it
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repaired, and they ask me if i am ensure your nod. -- if i am ensure the warnock. because they have different prices. what would be the circumstances if there was a moratorium on all insurance paid to hospitals and doctors for a year, what would that do to the cost of health care throughout the country? and of the cost of supplies for the hospitals throughout the country. host: to vote. -- thank you. guest: the question is, what would happen if there is a moratorium on all interest payments to hospitals around the country? the liberal answer is that most hospitals would close their
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doors. it is very unusual for in the hospital to have roughly a year's operating expenses in reserves. host: dr., use of the snide the people who ask the press -- she said the people can come. if people say they have cash, how much will charge me? guest: i said the people to ask about how much it is our people not that can afford it but our people who have money. not that they can afford it, but they have money. because you can afford to write a check for $50,000 for hospitalization?
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but if you have some means, then you're going to be responsible for that bill, so that is a scary thought. we negotiate with insurance companies for payments, but for patients who do not have insurance, in our private office, those are the patients that we will lower our fees. face it, insurance companies do not pay me what i charge. so why should someone who does not have insurance have to pay what i charge? we at least give those patients a break and let them be charged on what an insurance company would pay you. guest: perhaps the best way to answer is to give a personal example.
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several years ago, my father was hospitalized at duke university hospital. a fine institution. he was on medicare. medicare paid most of that, but his only income was social security at that time. there was not a reserve. we made an agreement with the hospital to pay a small amount per month over time. he did have some income. we could assist with that. so the principle is, i think, in common practice for people cannot pay, they do not pay, but where people have the ability to pay toward those averages that most hospitals will make an arrangement for payments over time. host: why did you become a hospital a administrator? guest: it probably all started when my father was hospitalized when i was a teenager. i never really had any interest
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in madison, but i saw what the doctors and the nurses were able to do, not only for him physically but for his anxiety and his well-being. i thought it would be neat if i could find a way to be part of that. and through a rather circuitous route, i finally came back to that many years later. host: time for two more calls. and medical professionals from north carolina. caller: good morning to both gentlemen. i heard the doctor last night on television and loved what he said so much. so i listened again this morning. i am glad to see live again. i am a registered nurse and a retired. i want to say thank you for all the wonderful things that you said about registered nurses last night. that was great. i was a registered nurse before and after medicaid, drj, cody,
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hmo'sj, and ppo's. so i saw what happened with health care as each one of these programs came into effect. with a drg, when they did it trials across the united states, i had a friend who was the administrator at a local community hospital. he said to me, is drg's to come into a fight, you will never ever do primary nursing care the way that you are doing now. and nothing could be more true. i eventually left hospital care, went back to school, and got a degree in public health education and did community needs assessment and programs. now i am retired. i have medicare and the top of the line insurance.
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i recently moved to the raleigh area last year -- host: i apologize. could you get to your question. caller: right before a move here, it the doctors at duke and other university stopped contracting with medicare. so i have to pay up front for all of my care because the doctors here do not accept medicare anymore. this is a growing problem that needs to be addressed. i hope that men like you will step forward and address that problem. host: thank you. now you have to accept medicare patients? guest: we do not. but we choose to. i mean, bottom-line is most of the patients that we operate on for heart surgery are older and
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have medicare. we keep saying it in different ways, but it is not all about the money. we like doing what we know how to do and helping people. heart surgery really makes people better. that is really true. host: do you have to accept medicare patients? guest: the hospital does have to accept medicare patients. but she is exactly right. it is a growing problem that physicians, especially internist and primary care physicians, are more and more reluctant to accept medicare. i think we have to ask ourselves why. host: do you have the problem here with your 300 yourself physicians? guest: yes. their number physicians to do not accept medicare in their offices. and of the reason is that is simply does not pay them enough to make it worth their while.
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as we look at reform, again, we cannot lose sight of the initiative for this whole debate over reform which was extending coverage to everyone. so that means even more people seeking more care. that means we have to make sure we have an adequate supply of not only physicians but also nurses. so it is the manpower issue and will be critical going forward. host: last call for our guests from delaware. caller: thank you so much for taking my call. it is in such a blessing. i would like to start by saying my mother is a gastroenterology nurse and has been for the last 20 years. my husband supper's from -- suffers from epilepsy. for the last five years, we have
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not have insurance. recently, my husband did and my 5-year-old daughter did it approve for medicaid. i currently am uninsured. but my daughter and husband to have medicaid. from living and loving my mother for the last 20 years, who has been a dedicated professional, where is the moral issue in this and the both the doctors take? recently, my husband, in terms of try to get medicaid, it was an uphill battle. we were denied three times before we actually got it. so my husband and my daughter have medical insurance. where is the morality in this issue? i have heard the administrator and a doctor about this taliand
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looking at losing money. even in maryland, there was a case of a little boy who died of a tuesday. he could have had his life saved force of the dollar extraction. someone address this morality issue, please. guest: this whole discussion about health care reform is about finding a way to provide coverage for everyone. the caller is intended to qualify mark -- for medicaid. at this hospital, which employs several people whose sole job is to work with patients who are admitted here took him to work through the bureaucracy and medicaid to give them qualified for that. anyone who comes to this hospital, and i will say in the hospital in the united states, will receive care regardless of their ability to pay. guest: and it is the same for
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physicians. we have no say of how you get insurance or how not to get insurance. i believe that everyone needs to be insured. but if you wind up here and need something, physicians will take care of you. host: dr. garrett is chairman of the board of the va hospital center and jim cole is president and ceo. thank you for taking calls. we'll continue our series hear from the va hospital center tomorrow. you will have a chance to talk with the chief financial officer. we'll also talk about privacy and medical records with the chief information officer. on wednesday, from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., we will talk to the chief of emergency medicine. we will talk to the medical director of the icu. and will turn to the vice- president and chief nursing officer. that is tuesday and wednesday here on the "washington
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journal." we will see tomorrow. >> hear the latest headlines. the u.s. military says to the u.s. service members have been killed today in separate bombings and southern afghanistan. the deaths bring the number of american service members killed this month in the country to 47. that is the highest monthly death toll for the u.s. since the conflict began in 2001. this comes as general mcchrystal's 62 strategic view the war in the country makes its way to the pentagon and nato headquarters. the review, completed at a time when major fraud complaints in the region after the afghan president elections are increasing, raising concerns a possible investigations into the charges may delay the announcement of a winner and of the formation of a new government there. more on the release of the convicted lockerbie ballmer, al- megrahi, former british ambassador to libya speaking today to bbc radio scotland, and
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he says he expects al-megrahi's decision to drop his appeal against his conviction was part of a covert deal ahead of his release. after serving eight years of a live sentence, al-megrahi but returned to libya 10 days ago to a hero's welcome. it provoked international condemnation. to hundreds of the people died in the december 19 mid-1988 bombing of the pan am flight. a report by the national association for business economics said economists are pleased with the federal reserve's policy on interest rates but are skeptical of the government's ability to rein in spending, curb greenhouse gases, or overall health care. the survey to be released later today. finally, former president bush's daughter, jenna, has been hired by nbc's "today show" is a new correspondent to contribute stories about once a month on education, women's rights, and human rights issues. those are some in the latest
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headlines on c-span radio. >> "washington journal" continues. host: paul rainwater is executive director of the louisiana recovery authority. thank you for being here. some four years after her king could train a, the date marked on saturday, what can you tell us about what remains to be done in recovery efforts in louisiana? guest: thank you for allowing me to be on this morning about talking about this. we put out about $8 billion in grants to homeowners throughout the coast of louisiana. we're finding is some of those homeowners have gaps. we're putting together plans to make sure that, working with secretary shaun donovan who is down last week to celebrate the anniversary and brought some good news, but working with him to fill those gaps. we think about 20,000
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homeowners this still -- between what we gave them and what their insurance gave them, still have a rebuilding gap. we have had a lot of affordable housing units that were destroyed during the storms, about 82,000 rental units, many of those affordable. we're working very hard to bring them back. we're making good, strong progress. if you look and how we're rebuilding public housing, we're doing it in a way that is very mixed and come which is using the same sorts of principles is shaun donovan used in new york. making a lot of progress but still have a ways to go. if you look of places like the lower ninth word, we've gone about $230 million of grants to about 2500 homeowners in that area. some of those people chose not to come back. some better they're still having the vehicle to rebuilding. we are in the process of getting money from nonprofits to help those people rebuild.
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a lot of progress. 80% of the new orleans area population is back. many people chose not to move back. men their living in this set of louisiana and a summer living a said the state. there was a lot of progress. many national journal's recognize new rollinses one of the best places to sit out the recession. we're spending money on the recovery and louisiana. we're creating a lot of energy and ivan," opportunity. host: your comments are a good sign them up in today's "christian science monitor" reporting that new orleans is not three-quarters full. t ever see it going to pre- katrina population levels? >> i really do not. we have had many conversations about this. i worked on a recovery in a lot of different ways. i was part of the evacuation team, and worked for the legislative director. i have seen it did a lot of different levels.
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it is strategic on the federal level. i do not think -- we have talked about a smaller footprint. obviously, we worked hard to try to bring back as many people wanted to come back. if you looked at what is happening and the flood plain maps that are now coming out and the agencies working together, i think you'll see a smaller footprint in morgan city. but i do not think it will be back to the pre-katrina population. i'd think many people, in the way we did our grant program, and give people the opportunity to decide whether not wanted to come back or not. many people look chosen to live somewhere else and have gone the other opportunities. we accept that. but we're trying to create a stronger, safer, smarter louisiana as we rebuild using 21st century planning principles, building codes.
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yes, we're going to have a much better new orleans at the end of the day. but obviously, we've done everything we possibly can to bring back as many people who are interested in coming back. host: will take your phone calls on the hurricane katrina recovery efforts. we have our republicans line, democrats line, and our independents line. if you are in louisiana resident, we have a special line set aside for you. we have paul rainwater up until 10:00 eastern this morning. you talked about the rebuilding of homes and of the population coming back. what about the defense for future katrinas -- the levee system? what is coming along on that front? guest: there is some progress. the have category three
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projection for hurricanes by 2011. during hurricane gustav, the governor sent me down to new orleans and those at me with mayor nagin and the concern was whether not the lead is with holder not, and they did. so people have gained some confidence. but we spent about $2.5 bill in with another $8 billion to spend. people are hoping we can get back to a level of confidence. we saw the during this stuff, and people did say they live is held, but they hold against a katrina? our department has told people, do not take a chance. even after 2011 when we get back to a category 3 hurricane camille need to evacuate a take precautions. many of us never believed that the levies would breach in new orleans after katrina, but we had 57 levee breach is.
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we want to bring them back to a level of protection the people can feel confident about. there is progress but much work to do. host: are democrats aligned, new jersey. caller: i wanted to ask the gentleman in question. you know, you had a lot of people donating money like all the rappers and all these famous people besides you. where did all this money go? that is my first question. guest: that money went to non- profits like the unity of new orleans. we had a real homelessness problem in a new orleans. many non-profits worked very hard to provide emergency housing for people. brad pitt has his make it right foundation. they are building homes in new orleans. so that money was used to help people get back inside their
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homes. many people, when you think about it, over 135,000 homes were damaged or destroyed. people lost everything. so we had to rehouse folks which means buying new furniture in some cases and helping people get back up on their feet. many people were away from their jobs for three or four months. some people used emergency assistance to survive. so those dollars were well spent and well accounted for. there has been very little fraud in the recovery which is interesting, but i think we have made great strides to account for those dollars in louisiana. host: wisconsin, good morning, independent caller. caller: i have two questions. i went to new orleans in march 2005 and fell in love with the place instantly. i had my heart set on moving there. and katrina happened the
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following fall. i have been looking into it ever since, checking on times and picking up on recovery efforts. i do not work a job that allows for vacation time. so any time, the amount of money would take to help rebuild, i might as well move. you have any tips for anybody looking to move to new orleans or people who had previous interest in the city and want to help the city get back to where was if it ever can? i guess that is basically it. i just messed up with my second question. guest: there are a number of organizations. you can go to the greater new orleans inc. website, gnoinc. the "wall street journal" wrote
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an article about a young entrepreneur is coming to new orleans, and other great opportunities going on. we're spending $7 million a day on the recovery. much of that money is going into new orleans. their great economic opportunities there. the veterans administration is getting ready to build a hospital. we're getting ready to start working on a new charity system, teaching at the hospital that would be governed by a tulane and lsu. there is a biomedical center also. but groups like gnoinc can help you get in touch to rebuild together and also habitat for humanity. there are a number of a organizations of focus on a new orleans. the st. bernard project is another group, and you can do to their website. they're taking volunteers to help rebuild your lens. but groups like gno inc will allow you the opportunity to see the opportunities of how to get
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to new orleans and how to live there and be a resident. there are great opportunities. host: next up is lake charles, louisiana. republican caller. caller: was or walking outside. how're you doing? and was calling about the rita victims. everybody is talking about katrina. my mother passed about two years ago and got money from a program. my and standing was that once the victim died, that we did not owe that money back even though we have an estate settlement. our insurance company could get the money to repair the home. then we ended up paying the lawyer fees which was like $100,000.
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so if we pay everything back and of the lawyer fees, we're still not going to have the amount of money we need to make the home marketable or livable. i was wondering what you were wrong to do about that. guest: there are several things we're working towards. one is try to make sure that people have the money they need to rebuild. when you take katrina and the rita, the largest national disaster in united states history. rita has not been forgotten about. i was the operations manager for salt was louisiana for rita. i was very involved, and that is my home area. we have dollars we can get you. i need you to call our local number and ask for irma. she can get you in touch with one of our lawyers. in a very complicated secession
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title issues and of the transfer property, there were many elderly people who were not able to survive the evacuation of the storm after the storm. there are very sensitive -- a very sad situations. we have attorneys to work through these things, and we will sit down with you. host: next, the bronx, democrats ran. we're with paul rainwater, hello. caller: i have a comment, more or less. i do not think that a natural disaster, as you call it, is really in the back of everybody's mind. it should be in the back of everybody's mind is to send action towards the people after the disaster. the lack of interest in trying to do the right thing for the people. the the people do not come back, that is one of the basic
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reasons why people are more or less -- and no, they have that fear. we just feel like host: that paul rainwater, any thoughts on his comments? guest: yes, it is interesting we have talked about this quite a bit. it is been discussed in the congress and senate. i have testified about 12 times before congressional committees to talk about how you can show this. there's no doubt the country prepares. this and $13.4 billion down to louisiana. $8 billion of that has been spent on housing. the state has been focused on getting people back. thousands of volunteers came from across the country to help people. during the responses of, there were thousands of volunteers in front of the state of louisiana and around the country. during gustav, we evacuated
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18,000 of the most impoverished people in this city and provided trains and buses and airplanes to get people out. then we brought those people back. it is hard -- katrina changed so many things. i know there was so much negativity after the initial response. having been a part of that as the first responder, many of us worked very hard to shift that mood. and focus on the positives and a focus on the partnership that we now have with the federal government and of the local governments to show that we do care and government can work to be a positive force in recovery. host: and you were a first responder is a member of the national guard? guest: i was a city manager in late charles, louisiana, and was asked to work and the steady march the operations center. and the live is breached, i was asked to manage a the area on
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the costly boulevard. someone -- i was there in the reserves. i had had hit a responder and had been an emergency manager. people recognize that we would need as much help as we could. we spent the 36 hours to evacuate in thousands of people at the causeway. the work of many first responder is on the country. it was great. the coast guard, national guard, and helicopter pilots. this is been a very difficult time. many of us have had an opportunity to come back under the new administration and work to focus to change things in the 2 main #one, our response, much better. we have a gentleman that is the debbie fire chief from l.a. county than now works in the state of the louisiana.
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they're making sure we're ready. we saw a much better coordinated system during gustav that was seen less. we tried to do the same thing with the recovery, working with the secretaries to make a seamless recovery. again, we have a good state, federal, local partnership. we got rid of a lot of the turf that existed in 2008. i think we're making good progress and speed. host: here is a call from new orleans. caller: mr. paul rainwater, first off, i hope if there is another storm, we have responds. my problem is with the red cross. their main headquarters down here it is north of i-12. they never did come into orleans parish. i was here for eight days after the storm.
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fema did not show up until friday. we had tractor-trailers' coming down with vice. if it was not for the u.s. marines dropping us mre's, water, and landing on a high school football practice field to bring us supplies. host: we're running out of time. what is your biggest concern about future possible situations in new orleans? caller: the ninth ward. we're getting ready to elect brad pitt mayor down here because he has done more than anybody. he really has. because the people are coming back, the businesses are not going to spend any money to rebuild. i am is so frustrated because i love this city, born and raised, and my father called this place in god's country. it is the greatest place in the
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world. host: thank you for calling. paul rainwater. guest: the first katrina population is about 351,000 compared to 453,000 before katrina. new orleans is talked about as a place to ride up the recession. we're spending a lot of money there. there are great opportunities. i understand of the problem with recovery is that you do always have two different stories. there are people with a lot of optimism. there are a lot of young people from teach america who are pouring into new orleans to work as part of the recovery. host: today, how much federal money has gone into the recovery and how much guest: statech? guest: there are emergency
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repairs and evacuation's. if you look of the federal government, congress allocated $13.4 billion is to be state for its recovery. a billion dollars of that has been spent on giving -- getting homeowners that they their homes. we're spending another $1.2 billion as part of rebuilding affordable housing in mixed income communities. another $700 million has gone to local governments to help rebuild their infrastructure. on the fema public assistance side which rebuilds hard infrastructure that is damaged, they have obligated about $7.2 billion. we spent about $4.8 billion of those dollars. we think we're going to get another $2 billion. so you're talking about great opportunities for contractors to be part of the rebuilding and repair of the recovery of new orleans. host: miami, good morning. caller: first of all, many
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thanks to c-span for your great coverage, especially on the health-care issue. i am considering an offer in new orleans. i have a young child and am a professional. i have heard, as many have, the problems in new orleans with crime and the school system. so i am concerned about that. i would like to hear his sales pitch as to why a young professionals and moved to new orleans. i will take the answer of the air. thank you. host: thank you for the call. guest: thank you. and look forward to seeing this. but when you talk about schools, a renaissance is occurring in the schools in new orleans. there is a man who reworked into redid schools in chicago and philadelphia and is known across the nation as a man of the good things done. i will tell you that it is amazing to see the schools in the new orleans recovery school
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district, and they are making a huge difference in the lives of children. i had the opportunity to go to many of these schools that have been rebuilt. we just did a ribbon putt -- a ribbon cutting on langston hughes, named after the great poet. when you see those children in the new facility, it is amazing. there are a number of charter schools being no bent and have some of the brightest people from around the country teaching in those schools. many good to me those teachers and those principles, you cannot help but feel optimistic about what is happening. yes, there is a crime problem in new orleans. i think it is being addressed through state, local, and federal partnership. i spoke to our state superintendent a couple nights ago but what they were doing, working with the fbi and the drug enforcement administration and the secret service, a local sheriff's department and the police department.


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